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Steve Wacksman
Stormy Weather
posted:
This evening I was prepping the lad's dinner and getting the recycling ready to take to the curb, The wind was really picking up; the curtains were flapping wildly in the breeze and the junk mail sailed from it's usual perch on the side table by the front door and scattered all over the floor of the mud room. I stepped outside and was amazed by the vivid green of the sky- the whole streetscape had gone eerily verdant and the thunder had reached a rolling boil. I stepped inside just as the first fat raindrops began to fall.
I reckon we're gonna need a new fence. Add it to the list.

When we bought this house in 2003 one of the most attractive features ( and trust me, there were precious few attractive features) was the 80 year old maple tree that shaded our back yard. Sitting back there in the lacy shade of the tree was one of Summer's highlights; our yard, albeit small, was a perfect oasis.I remeber one night sitting in the darkness, looking up at the moon and listening to the crickets and the gentle trickling of a neighbor's fountain and feeling an almost transcendent calm. Granted, I was drunk, but I like to think the feeling was real.
In recent years, though, the maple had started dripping sap from high up in it's canopy, then it's bark began to peel as if it were molting. Last fall it dropped a 30 foot limb, which took up the majority of our backyard and required me to borrow a chainsaw and cut and bundle everything. Parks Department Employees came by with a woodchipper and (not without a lot of grumbling) ground the remnants up. But the seal had been broken and the old maple started losing sizable limbs whenever the wind picked up. Just last week it dropped yet another branch, this one dangling precariously from the powerlines strung along the outskirts of our property. It was clear that the tree had come to the end of it's lifecycle and woukld likely need to be removed.
The Maple in question is in image left. It is nothing but a trunk with a small tuft of leaves in it's uppermost portion. It will likely be removed before the end of next week The large tree in image right was also badly damaged and is scheduled to be taken down.

So...here i am in the kitchen looking out the back window and thinking about the rain and how the maple isn't up to another storm. And even as I stand the wind comes screaming over our house, whipping and churning the backyard into a stormy froth. The house swells with the storm's pressure and the sky, I notice, is a ghostly luminous white. I see the tree surrendering it's limbs to the maelstrom; they're like twigs being carried away on a roaring river. The thunder and the wind in concert form a near-throbbing rumble and I look up into the sky just as a branch- a thick, long and leafy branch, virtually a tree itself, comes violently spiralling toward the house and me. Adrenalized and frightened, I leap back from the door and into the kitchen, hoping Dash has stayed seated in the stairwell where I left him. And just as I realize he's safe, the branch shatters the door; shards of glass explode into the kitchen and litter the floor. The dogs are circiling the entrance to the kitchen, nervous but following their ancient compulsion to ensure that the pack is safe and accounted for.
The rain comes flooding down and soon turns to hail until it finally and without ceremony dies down to an unspectacular light rainfall. We survey the house: the air conditioners have been forced from the windows, their flimsy louvers torn from their stout housings. My studio is littered with dark wet maple leaves and black sticks. A stream of rainwater snakes across the floor.  Dash's window unit fared even worse: a branch punctured it like a spear and destroyed the condensor.
In a stroke of uncharacteristic brilliance I called the local tool rental after putting Dash to bed, even knowing they'd be closed for the night. I left a message- " I'd like to reserve a chainsaw for Friday morning if at all possible".
What a storm. My personal guarantee: at least one (but probably more) of the tabloids will boast the headline 'A Tree Falls In Brooklyn" tomorrow.  Groan. Hope all my fellows in NYC are safe and intact.
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